Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Louise Narjot Howard, 1861-?

By Ana Sanderson-Burglin, undergraduate, University of California, Berkeley

Louise Narjot was truly an international woman. Louise, sometimes known as Louisa, was born in Mexico on July 17, 1861. Her father, Ernest Narjot, met Louise's mother, Selina Santos Ortiz, while joining a mining expedition to Sonora in 1860. Ernest, born in Saint-Malo, France, first had ventured to America to work as an artist amidst the California Gold Rush. Following the births of Louise, her bother Ernest, and her sister Charlotte, the family relocated to San Francisco, where Louise's father achieved critical acclaim as a painter.

Louise's diverse cultural heritage undoubtedly sparked in her a love for Romance languages. She not only spoke English, Spanish and French but also went on to marry Charles Howard, a professor in the Romance Language Department at the University of California, Berkeley in 1892. The couple welcomed their first child, Carlos, in 1893. During this period, Louise also supported the arts. In 1893, she served as a member of the "The San Franciscan Women's Literary Exhibit of Californian Writers for the Columbian Exposition" which compiled a collection of literary works to be displayed at the World's Fair. Louise, then a wife and a mother, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1901 receiving her bachelor's degree in French and Spanish. After graduation, Louise worked as a French teacher in the Bay Area at high schools in Berkeley and San Francisco.

Louise was also a leader in the suffrage movement. As a member of the French Chapter of the College Equal Suffrage League (CESL) of Northern California, Louise helped to organize and educate audiences about political equality. In 1911, Louise joined in the referendum campaign to grant women the right to vote. As a leader of the CESL, Louise spoke at rallies and at evening meetings in the Bay Area to inspire support for the referendum. Louise also fought for the rights of teachers in California. She was an active member of the National Education Association, representing teachers across the United States. In 1923, Louise went on to represent the San Francisco Teachers' Association in a proposal to the California State Senate to amend the state teachers' salary retirement act.

After the death of her husband Howard in 1915, Louise, at the age of 58, continued to teach, participate in women's organizations and travel the world. In 1920, Mrs. Louise N. Howard applied for a passport to travel to France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Algeria, Mexico and Israel. By 1921, Louise had made her way to the consulate in Paris, France to submit a formal application for Native Registration to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1930, after having secured her citizenship and the right of women across the state of California to vote, at the age of 68, Louise moved into the home of her only son, along with his wife, Frances, and their daughter Elizabeth. In honor of her late father, Louise wrote the introduction to a short book, published in 1936, about his successful painting career that is still in circulation today.


Census Reports:

1.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Berkeley, Alameda, California. Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Accessed on,%20Alameda,%20California,%20USA&msrpn=67710&msrpn_PInfo=8-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C7%7C0%7C126%7C67710%7C0%7C0%7C&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=qs1&pcat=CEN_CENTURY1900&h=88625376&dbid=6224&indiv=1&ml_rpos=2

2.Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Berkeley, Alameda, California. Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Accessed on,%20Alameda,%20California,%20USA&msrpn=67710&msrpn_PInfo=8-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C7%7C0%7C126%7C67710%7C0%7C0%7C&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=qs1&pcat=CEN_CENTURY1900&h=2548416&dbid=6061&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

3.United States Federal Census, 1880. San Francisco, California. U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Accessed on,%20USA&msrpn=7&msrpn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C7%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=qs1&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=14361404&dbid=6742&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

Government Documents:

1.Application for Registration – Native Citizen, June 20, 1922. Department of State, Division of Passport Control Consular Registration Applications. U.S., Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925 [database online]. Accessed on

2.The Journal of the Senate during the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California. California Legislature Senate. Sacramento, California. March 27, 1923. Accessed on Google Books.

3.U.S. Passport Application, 1921. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 [database online]. Accessed on

Newspaper Articles:

1."Appeals to Be Made for Amendment No. 8." The San Francisco Call. Sept. 21, 1911. Accessed on

2."Death of an Artist: Ernest Narjot Passes Away at a Ripe Old Age." San Francisco Chronicle. Aug. 26, 1898. Accessed on

3."Four Generations Gather at Family Reunion in Berkeley." Oakland Tribune. Aug. 29, 1920. Accessed on

4."Pension Fund for Teachers." Santa Cruz Evening News. June 21, 1923. Accessed on

5."Suffragist Campaigners Plan for Organized District Work." San Francisco Chronicle. Sept. 20, 1911. Accessed on

6."Teachers Lose Their Place in Department." The San Francisco Call. July 28, 1900. Accessed on

7."20 Years Ago: June 1, 1915." Oakland Tribune. June 1, 1935. Accessed on


1.Directory of Graduates, 1901. University of California, Berkeley. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database online]. Accessed on,%20USA&msypn=7&msypn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C7%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&catbucket=rstp&MSAV=0&MSV=0&uidh=qs1&pcat=37&h=268219692&dbid=1265&indiv=1&ml_rpos=6

2."Obituary Record of Graduates and Non-Graduates of Amherst College." Bulletin, Volume 5, Issue 6. Amherst College, Eastern Michigan University, 1916. Accessed on Google Books. Winning Equal Suffrage in California: Reports of Committees of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California in the Campaign of 1911‬. National College of Equal Suffrage League, 1913‬. ‬‬Accessed on Google Books.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

4.San Francisco Women's Literary Exhibit, "Catalogue of Californian writers issued by the San Franciscan Women's Literary Exhibit. Columbian Exposition, 1893, under the auspices of the San Francisco World's Fair Association." San Francisco Co-Operative Printing Co., 1893. California Digital Library [database online].

5.Yearbook and List of Active Members of the National Education Association. National Education Association of the United States. Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1916. Accessed on Google Books.


1.Dressler, Albert. California's Pioneer Artist, Ernest Narjot: A Brief Resume Of The Career Of A Versatile Genius. San Francisco: Albert Dressler, 1936.

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